Watco Rolls Out iPads With Comply365’s Mobile App

Written by Carolina Worrell, Senior Editor
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Watco is wrapping up the rollout of iPads with Comply365’s Mobile App, which “distributes critical railroad resources in electronic format, making them searchable and easily kept up to date,” the company announced in the May issue of its newsletter The Dispatch.

Since January, Watco says it has distributed about 900 iPads loaded with Watco rulebooks, timetables for each Watco railroad, and the railroad industry’s General Code of Operating Rules, all of which are delivered to the iPads through the cloud-hosted software provider’s Mobile App.

“We’re initially using it for rulebooks and timetables, starting with train and engine service team members, who have to have rulebooks with them on the train,” said Watco SVP of Environmental Health and Safety Travis Herod. Conductors and engineers at almost all the company’s railroads have received the devices, as well as new conductors and engineers training at the Watco Safe Performance Center in Birmingham, Ala.

Comply365 is in use at several Class I railroads, including Norfolk Southern (NS), as well as Class III Iowa Northern Railway (IANR), Keolis Commuter Services, the operator of Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) commuter rail, and Conrail. The software is also used throughout the commercial airline industry.

Just as it has replaced some paper documents kept by the pilots in cockpits, Comply365 is replacing the printed documents carried in locomotives, Watco said. In some cases, trains will still carry hard copies of some documents, but Kris Hawley, a software solutions architect who has helped orchestrate the rollout, believes providing resources electronically can, in many cases, “reduce the number of thick black binders, filled with printed rulebooks and timetables, that are carried in locomotive cars.” Not only will digital documents save printing and distribution time and expense, Hawley says, but they’ll also allow users to search for and quickly find information. And, as documents are revised, they can be pushed promptly to the iPads.

Hawley noted that he has already heard from team members at railroads who have ideas for additional ways to use Comply365. “Our operations team members are creative,” he said. “They’re embracing this and saying, ‘This is great, and we want to take it even further.’” Hawley and Herod agree that Comply365 “shows promise” for possible additional uses, such as training.

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